The Box Interface

The Box Interface


If you click on a file in Box, the file opens in Preview mode. 

File Preview in Box

When previewing a file:

  • Use the up and down arrows in the bottom navigation bar to go through the document page-by-page. You can also zoom in and out.

  • The left and right arrows on the sides of the file preview will take you to the previous or next file in the folder you are currently in.

  • Click on the x button at the top of the preview window to close the file preview. Be careful not to click on the x button that will close your browser window/tab!

 Launching a File Preview from Box Drive

  1. Open your computer’s file manager (Finder for Mac or Explorer for Windows).

  2. Select Box.

  3. Navigate to a file.

  4. Right click on the file.

  5. Select View on Box will open a file preview in your browser.

The buttons in the top toolbar of the preview window provide access to editing and sharing features. A brief description of each of these buttons is provided below.

Top toolbar in file preview


The More Options Button

file preview options menu

Upload New Version – Import a file into Box that will become the most current version of the file. This will overwrite the previous version.

Rename ­– Provide a new name for the file.

Collections – Add this file to one of your existing Collections or start a new Collection.

Move or Copy – Move the file to a different location or create a duplicate of it. In both cases, Box will ask you where you want to move the file to or save the duplicate.

Lock – Prevent other people with access to the file from editing it. You can specify how long the file stays locked for. You can also disable downloading of the file.

Report Abuse – Notify Box via email of a violation of its Terms of Service (Copyright, Malicious Content/Virus, etc.).

Properties – Open a popup window with some basic file properties.

Version History – Access the file version history window.

Print – Print the document.


The Open Button

opening a file from preview window

Open – The Open Button allows you to open the document in either the desktop or online version its native application (eg. Microsoft Word) and edit it. The options that show up here depend on the type of file being viewed. As an example here, we show you the Open options that are available when you are previewing a Word document.

Microsoft Word – Open the file in the desktop version of Microsoft Word. This requires that you have the desktop version of Word installed on your computer, as well as Box Edit.

Microsoft Word Online – Open the file in the online (Office 365) version of Microsoft Word. You have an Office 365 account through Tufts University.

Adobe Sign – Opens the document in Adobe Sign for a digital signature.


The Download Button

Download – Save a copy of the current version of the file you are previewing. Depending on how you have your browser configured, the file will either automatically go into a folder you’ve previously selected (eg. Downloads) or you can choose a destination from your computer’s file manager.

Downloading a file from the preview window

The Share Button

Share – Generates a link that can be used to share the file. You can copy and paste the link somewhere else or email it directly to people that you’d like to share the file with. You can also configure sharing settings. For more information see the page on Sharing Files and Folders.

Sharing a file from preview window

The × Button

Close Preview (×) – When you are done previewing a file, click on the × button in the preview window to leave preview mode and go back to your folder. Do NOT click on your browser’s × button. That will close the browser tab/window where you had open!

The Activity panel shows recent activity for the file that you are previewing, including file version history, comments, and tasks.

Activity panel


File Version History

Box automatically keeps each version of a file that you save. This allows you to view or restore previous drafts of a file and eliminates the need for you to save different versions of the same file with different names.

NOTE: Box will only keep the 100 most recent versions of a file for viewing and restoring. Any versions that came before that will still be listed in the version history, but they will not be accessible.

For more information, see the page on File Version History.


File Comments and Tasks

Box gives you the ability to leave comments on a file without directly editing the file itself. Within these comments, you can also mention and assign tasks to collaborators. When you mention someone or assign a task, they will be notified. (NOTE: You must have someone assigned as a collaborator on the file/folder before you can mention them in a comment or assign them a task. See the page on Sharing Files and Folders.)

Commenting, Mentioning, and Assigning Tasks

1. Find the file you’d like to work with on the website.

2. Click on the file to open it in preview mode.

3. Click on the Activity button. In the Activity panel that appears next to the file, you will see a list of file versions and a window at the bottom for comments.

4. Click on the text box that says "Write a comment".

commenting on a file

5. Type your comment.

  • Want to mention a collaborator? In the comment box, type the @ symbol and then their name (eg. @JohnJumbo). Click on their name when it appears. Do this for each person you’d like to mention.mentioning a collaborator in a comment
  • Want to assign a task to a collaborator? Click on the box next to Add Task. Type the task in the comment box. Type the person’s name in the Assignees box. Click on their name as it appears. Select a Due Date (optional). The person who the task is assigned to may then mark the task as complete () or decline it (×).Adding a task in the Activity panel


6. Click Post when you are done.

Click on the Details button to open the Details panel. The Details panel will display Access Stats and File Properties for the file you are currently previewing.

Details panel


Access Stats

The Access Stats section tells you the number of times a file has been previewed, edited, commented on, and downloaded. To get more information, click on any of the blue buttons (eg. Previews, Edits, etc.) or on the View Details button. All of these will open the same popup window. If you’d like, you can export this information.

File Properties

The File Properties section of the Details Panel will tell you how many versions of the file have been saved, the owner of the file, the date it was created, etc. You can also enter a description for the file. Clicking on the blue Saved Versions text will bring you to the file’s version history.